Highway Africa Celebrates 20 Years of Digital Journalism

Hosted by Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies in partnership with corporate South Africa, development agencies and media associations, the annual Highway Africa conference will kick off on Sunday, 28 August 2016 in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape.

Highway Africa is a flagship project of our School of Journalism and Media Studies. Its annual conference has, over the years, distinguished itself as the pre-eminent platform for media practitioners, professionals, researchers and scholars to exchange views, share experiences and reflect on the challenges and opportunities of reporting in Africa and beyond. It is the continent’s most anticipated gathering of over 450 journalists, editors and academics who will participate in short courses and workshops in order to up-skill themselves and build capacity to report accurately on issues such as health, politics, nutrition and the environment.

Celebrating 20 years of digital journalism, the conference has been at the forefront of Africa’s debates on journalism, media and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and has over the years become the largest annual gathering of African journalists in the world.

Themed ‘The Internet and the Media – Celebrations, Reflections and the Future’, the two-day event will explore the evolving impact of the internet on both journalism and the media, specifically the disruption that the internet has had on the media. Some of the issues that the delegates will interrogate include the impact of the internet on the media; how media enterprises have responded to the opportunities and threats posed by the internet; the new forms of journalism that have been enabled by the internet and how ICT innovation is enabling people to tell their own stories and challenge dominant narratives.

“The theme for the 2016 Highway Africa, ‘The Internet and the Media’, could not be more relevant and timely to our continent as many of our people yearn to live in societies that fulfil both their democratic and developmental aspirations. The internet allows a plurality of voices to be heard and to demand a culture of transparency, responsiveness and accountability from those who have been elected into office or those appointed into state institutions. The possibilities and limitations that the internet offers in the exercise of full citizenship are part of the conference’s agenda,” said Dr Sizwe Mabizela, Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University. 

The event, whose main sponsors are Telkom, Barclays, MTN and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will consist of three main components. These will include research - which aims to strengthen Highway Africa’s training and policy interventions by identifying and researching in areas of journalism, media and ICT interface; the education and training element aims to create, sustain and expand the pool of journalists who are empowered in the use of ICTs and thus are “early adopters” of new technology. It also aims to create a team of journalists who appreciate their role in ICT policy reform and use their various platforms in ‘advocacy journalism’. At the core of this event is the conference, whose objective is to create a platform for sharing information, knowledge and experience in media and ICTs and to celebrate excellence.

“Highway Africa is one of the most relevant events for addressing African media and journalism. It is an opportunity for us to have discourse around the influence of technology innovation on governance and the marginalisation of citizen voices in relation to media and journalism. We are also very grateful to our long time sponsors, without whom this event would not have been such a success,” concluded Chris Kabwato, Director of Highway Africa at Rhodes University.

Hosted by Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies in partnership with corporate South Africa, development agencies and media associations, the annual Highway Africa conference will kick off on Sunday, 28 August 2016 in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape.

Highway Africa is a flagship project of our School of Journalism and Media Studies. Its annual conference has, over the years, distinguished itself as the pre-eminent platform for media practitioners, professionals, researchers and scholars to exchange views, share experiences and reflect on the challenges and opportunities of reporting in Africa and beyond. It is the continent’s most anticipated gathering of over 450 journalists, editors and academics who will participate in short courses and workshops in order to up-skill themselves and build capacity to report accurately on issues such as health, politics, nutrition and the environment.

Celebrating 20 years of digital journalism, the conference has been at the forefront of Africa’s debates on journalism, media and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and has over the years become the largest annual gathering of African journalists in the world.

Themed ‘The Internet and the Media – Celebrations, Reflections and the Future’, the two-day event will explore the evolving impact of the internet on both journalism and the media, specifically the disruption that the internet has had on the media. Some of the issues that the delegates will interrogate include the impact of the internet on the media; how media enterprises have responded to the opportunities and threats posed by the internet; the new forms of journalism that have been enabled by the internet and how ICT innovation is enabling people to tell their own stories and challenge dominant narratives.

“The theme for the 2016 Highway Africa, ‘The Internet and the Media’, could not be more relevant and timely to our continent as many of our people yearn to live in societies that fulfil both their democratic and developmental aspirations. The internet allows a plurality of voices to be heard and to demand a culture of transparency, responsiveness and accountability from those who have been elected into office or those appointed into state institutions. The possibilities and limitations that the internet offers in the exercise of full citizenship are part of the conference’s agenda,” said Dr Sizwe Mabizela, Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University. 

The event, whose main sponsors are Telkom, Barclays, MTN and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will consist of three main components. These will include research - which aims to strengthen Highway Africa’s training and policy interventions by identifying and researching in areas of journalism, media and ICT interface; the education and training element aims to create, sustain and expand the pool of journalists who are empowered in the use of ICTs and thus are “early adopters” of new technology. It also aims to create a team of journalists who appreciate their role in ICT policy reform and use their various platforms in ‘advocacy journalism’. At the core of this event is the conference, whose objective is to create a platform for sharing information, knowledge and experience in media and ICTs and to celebrate excellence.

“Highway Africa is one of the most relevant events for addressing African media and journalism. It is an opportunity for us to have discourse around the influence of technology innovation on governance and the marginalisation of citizen voices in relation to media and journalism. We are also very grateful to our long time sponsors, without whom this event would not have been such a success,” concluded Chris Kabwato, Director of Highway Africa at Rhodes University.

Source:  Communications

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